Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 27 August 2014

Probe over sectarian claims by boxing club

The Irish Amateur Boxing Association (IABA) is to investigate after a Belfast club criticised the body’s handling of “chronic sectarianism” within the sport.

The predominantly Protestant Sandy Row club published a report alleging verbal and physical assault dating back to 2000.

The 57-page report lists a number of alleged assaults by fans when Sandy Row boxers fought in mainly nationalist areas.

But others involved with boxing have said they have not been exposed to such sectarianism over the years.

Gerard McCafferty, coach with the St John Bosco club in west Belfast — the training base of Olympic bronze medalist Michael Conlan — said he had “never experienced any type of religious bigotry at all” during his 30 years in the sport.

Belfast boxing stalwart and club secretary Geordie Boyd (71) said he had witnessed few instances in his 60 years in boxing, and such had been dealt with.

Yesterday Don Stewart, the chief executive of the IABA, said the organisation was in “no way sectarian or political, nor does it discriminate against any religious beliefs, political ideologies, or race”.

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